A dog's keen sense of smell aided our soldiers in detecting mines, in a similar fashion to the bomb detector dogs of today. They were often used to search for and aid the wounded. During World War II specially designed gas masks were made for the canine division.
Today, more than 10 breeds of dog have found a place within our armed forces. The most common are the German and Belgian shepherds, the Labrador and the Aussie mutt. The troops that currently inhabit Afghanistan have even adopted dogs as mascots for their Battalion. Sabi, a black Labrador trained in explosives detection, made headlines with her recovery after spending 14 months missing in action.
In 1943, a special medal was created to honour dogs who have fought and fallen in combat. Eighteen canine comrades have so far been awarded the Dickin Medal - the animal equivalent of the Victoria Cross - for their acts of heroism and bravery.